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New Quality Seal Empowers Consumers
28 January 2000
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor

How can consumers gauge the effectiveness of a dietary supplement? A new quality seal helps separate the wheat from the chaff.

ConsumerLab.com, an independent testing lab based in White Plains NY, is testing products for the presence and and levels of compounds that have proven effective in clinical research. Those that pass the test are then published on their web site: www.ConsumerLab.com. Also, producers of passing brands can purchase a license to print the ConsumerLab quality seal on the labels and literature of approved products.

Copyright 1999 ConsumerLab.com; reprinted with permission.

Testing answers question: Is this product effective?

Finding out if a branded product is effective is a challenging task -- much more difficult than determining if product potency levels and labeling match. Both herbs and derivative products are complex substances with many dozens of chemical compounds.

Which are responsible for the health benefits that an herb provides and should therefore be present in products? Dr. Tod Cooperman, President and Founder of ConsumerLab.com, has a straightforward answer to that question:

"We use the best scientific knowledge that's available," Dr. Cooperman says, "both on these products and for the test methods we use. First we look at clinical research from around the world. In particular, we find out what levels of bioactive compounds are in the substances that have proven effective in clinical trials. Then we hold products to standards established by this clinical research."

As for which test methods to use, ConsumerLab takes an equally rigorous approach, selecting among methods published by the Institute for Nutraceutical Advancement (INA), U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), the Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide To Herbal Medicines, and others.

The names of products that pass these tests -- both the manufacturer and the brand names -- are posted on their website: www.ConsumerLab.com. Also, products that pass are eligible to license the ConsumerLab.com quality seal and print that seal on their labels and product literature.


next page First test results: Gingko biloba
ConsumerLab.com chose ginkgo biloba for its first round of testing, purchasing 30 brands from . . .



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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.